Stressful Life Events in Children With Functional Defecation Disorders

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2015 Oct;61(4):384-92. doi: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000882.

Abstract

Objectives: The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of stressful life events including (sexual) abuse in children with functional defecation disorders by performing a systematic review.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycINFO for cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies investigating the prevalence of stressful life events, including (sexual) abuse in children with functional defecation disorders.

Results: The search yielded 946 articles, of which 8 were included with data from 654 children with functional constipation and 1931 children with (constipation-associated) fecal incontinence (FI). Overall, children with functional defecation disorders had been significantly more exposed to stressful life events than healthy children, with prevalence rates ranging from 1.6% to 90.9%. Being bullied, being a relational victim, interruption of toilet training, punishment by parents during toilet training, and hospitalization were significantly related to FI, whereas separation from the best friend, failure in an examination, severe illness in a close family member, loss of job by a parent, frequent punishment, and living in a war-affected area were significantly related to constipation. Only 1 study measured the prevalence of child abuse, which reported a significantly higher prevalence of child (sexual) abuse in children with FI compared with controls.

Conclusions: The prevalence of stressful life events, including (sexual) abuse is significantly higher in children with functional defecation disorders compared with healthy children. To gain more insight into the true prevalence of child (sexual) abuse in children with functional defecation disorders, more studies are clearly needed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Abuse, Sexual / psychology
  • Constipation / etiology*
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Defecation
  • Fecal Incontinence / etiology*
  • Fecal Incontinence / psychology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Intestinal Diseases / psychology
  • Intestines / physiopathology
  • Life Change Events*
  • Prevalence
  • Stress, Physiological*
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological / physiopathology*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology